7:06 PM, May 28, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
MSNBC host Chris Hayes has issued an apology one day after saying on national television that he is "uncomfortable" with calling fallen soldiers "heroes."
"On Sunday, in discussing the uses of the word 'hero' to describe those members of the armed forces who have given their lives, I don't think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I've set for myself," Hayes says in a written statement. "I am deeply sorry for that."
As many have rightly pointed out, it's very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots. Of course, that is true of the overwhelming majority of our nation's citizens as a whole. One of the points made during Sunday's show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan, and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.
But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don't, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of a removed pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.
Here are Hayes's initial remarks that prompted the controversy:
I think it's interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words "heroes." Why do I feel so [uncomfortable] about the word "hero"? I feel comfortable -- uncomfortable -- about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don't want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that's fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I'm wrong about that.
In addition to his position with MSNBC, Hayes is editor at large of the far left Nation magazine. There seems to be no indication that his employers prompted Hayes to apologize.
Hayes's apology comes on Memorial Day and on the same day the VFW asked the MSNBC host to apologize. Additionally, President Obama seemed to rebuke Hayes's very comments in remarks today at the Vietnam War Memorial today in Washington, D.C.
4:21 PM, May 28, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
President Obama, an avid follower of left-wing media, is surely aware of the controversial remark by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who explained yesterday, in a discussion of Memorial Day on MSNBC, that he felt “uncomfortable” using the word “hero” for an American killed in battle:
12:39 PM, May 28, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Over the weekend, MSNBC host Chris Hayes told his viewers that he's "uncomfortable" with calling "war dead and the fallen ... 'heroes.'" Now, the Veterans of Foreign Wars group have responded by saying that Hayes's comments "are reprehensible and disgusting" and are asking for the MSNBC host to apologize.
12:00 AM, May 28, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
A fair number of Americans would probably tell you that Memorial Day is held to celebrate the Indy 500. And, even those who are aware of why, actually, the day has been set aside tend to honor it in the breech, if at all. On my way, every year, to the service in our town, I am struck by how many more cars are parked near the golf course than in the church parking lot.
But that, of course, is one of the glories of America.
10:29 AM, May 27, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Paul Mirengoff at Powerline has a post in his series, "This Day in Baseball History," reminding us that it was fifty years ago yesterday, May 26, 1962, that the Detroit Tigers defeated the Yankees 2-1 at Yankee Stadium:
10:54 AM, May 30, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama named nominees of new military brass today, on Memorial Day, for the positions of chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, vice chair of the Joint Chiefs, and chief of staff of the Army. USA Today reports:
12:00 AM, May 29, 2011 • By AMY A. KASS and LEON R. KASS
American identity, character, and civic life are shaped by many things, but decisive among them are our national memories—of our long history, our triumphs and tragedies, our national aspirations and achievements. Crucial to the national memory are the words our forebears wrote, to show us who we are and what we might yet become. Robust citizenship is impossible without national attachment. National attachment is thin at best without national memory. And national memory depends on story, speech, and song.
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